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More and more doctors and surgeons in Florida are requiring patients to sign “arbitration” agreements before they will provide medical treatment. These arbitration agreements force patients to sign away their right to a jury trial in the event of medical mistakes, no matter how serious. That means that even if your loved one was killed by a preventable medical error, an arbitration agreement they signed at the beginning of treatment could prevent the family from having a jury award fair compensate for the loss of life. Rather, the arbitration agreement would require that a panel of doctors decide a) if a medical mistake was preventable and b) the amount of money that fairly compensates the victim. Even worse, many of the agreements limit the amount of compensation a victim of medical malpractice can receive, sometimes to amounts even lower than the legal caps on medical negligence claims. Some doctors are reportedly even having patients sign waivers, giving up their right to sue entirely, no matter how reckless the medical malpractice.
Don’t sign away your legal rights at the doctor’s office. Make sure you read before signing. You are not required to sign away your legal rights in exchange for medical care. If a doctor insists, get another doctor who has more confidence in his own ability to safely provide care and treatment.